The Future of Flooding: How to Revise the Army Corps of Engineers’ Study

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Event Details

In the past decade, increasingly severe coastal storms have affected the North Atlantic Coast, including the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. In 2015, the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) completed the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study, which identified nine high-risk focus areas, including the New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Study (HATS) area. In 2022, HATS was the focus of the Draft Integrated Feasibility and Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, which sparked continued public debate about the feasibility and efficacy of the Corps’ proposals for 84 miles of our waterfront, affecting 16 million people.

Environmental, civic, and environmental justice organizations are calling for a comprehensive approach that addresses multiple flood hazards and prioritizes historically disadvantaged communities in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. In this panel discussion, we will feature speakers from three of the 25 organizations that have come together in the Get the NY/NJ Flood Plan Right initiative, an opportunity for experts and concerned citizens alike to get involved in shaping the outcome of the plan.

A brief presentation framing the issues on the NY/NJ Flood Plan will be followed by open discussion.

Kate Boicourt, Director of NY-NJ Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds, Environmental Defense Fund
Bonnie A. Harken, RA, President, Nautilus International Development Consulting
Pamela Pettyjohn, President and Co-founder, Coney Island Beautification Project
Tyler Taba, Senior Manager for Climate Policy, Waterfront Alliance

About the Speakers:
Kate Boicourt is the Director of NY-NJ Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds. She works within EDF’s Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds team to foster partnerships that collectively advocate for comprehensive, evidence-based and equitable policies and investments that build resilience for all in New York and New Jersey. She was a fantastic partner to EDF in her previous role as Director of Resilience for the Waterfront Alliance, where she spearheaded Rise to Resilience (R2R), a multi-year campaign and coalition for resilience in the NY-NJ region, as well as the development of WEDG (Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines) into a national rating system and education program for excellence in waterfront design. Prior to that, she served as the restoration program manager for the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP), where she focused on coastal issues related to restoration, public access, and climate change. Boicourt also led a team of experts to develop a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the State of Maryland and has held multiple roles conducting and synthesizing research to influence policy and environmental management.

Bonnie A. Harken is President of Nautilus International Development Consulting, a multi-disciplinary firm which consults with public and private clients about strategies for planning and implementing successful, sustainable developments that transform cities. Founded in 2003 with a special strength in resilient urban waterfronts, Nautilus International has worked in more than 25 countries. She is an internationally recognized expert in sustainable waterfront revitalization and downtown development, speaking and publishing widely. Early in her career, she spent 10 years leading urban design and architectural teams on numerous projects at Battery Park City, such as the Esplanade, North Residential Area and Stuyvesant High School, which won wide acclaim and were honored with local, national and international awards. Recently, Nautilus International worked with the AECOM team on the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project which is now under construction. Current projects include resiliency planning for Hunters Point North, NYC, and a Climate Action Plan for the Village of Sleepy Hollow, NY. Harken’s work has won numerous awards for design excellence as well as for meritorious service to the profession. After Superstorm Sandy, she co-chaired the AIANY’s Post-Sandy Initiative’s Waterfront Working Group, which was awarded their highest honor: the AIA National Honors Award for Collaborative and Professional Achievement. She teaches at NYU’s Schack Institute for Real Estate and co-chairs the Waterfront Committee of the APA NY Metro Chapter. She grew up in Asia and Latin America, studied environmental design at Parsons School of Design, real estate finance at NYU, and holds a Master of Architecture from Columbia University.

Pamela Pettyjohn is the co-founder and president of the Coney Island Beautification Project. When her Coney Island home and a large part of her community were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Pettyjohn came to the realization that despite her losses, she had to give back to the many thousands in need. Founded in 2014, the Coney Island Beautification Project responded to the long-term effects of Hurricane Sandy by fostering community involvement, resilience, and education to enhance the local environment. The organization focuses on neighborhood greening, enhancing parks, street tree beds, waterfronts, and other green spaces for public use. Pettyjohn joined the Waterfront Alliance board of Trustees in 2021.

Tyler Taba joined Waterfront Alliance in January 2022 as the senior manager for climate policy. He is charged with developing climate change policy and strategy, leading the coordination and convening of the Rise to Resilience Coalition (R2R), and identifying changes and trends in climate change that affect and dictate new strategy. Tyler brings four years of experience in public policy, specific to climate resilience and adaptation, across the Northeast region of the United States. Working at the local, state, and federal level, he has advanced funding, legislation, planning, and infrastructure projects to protect the region from flood risks.

Prior to joining Waterfront Alliance, Tyler worked at the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) on resilience and adaptation for coastal national parks, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a reservist environmental floodplain specialist, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation on stormwater management. He holds a Master of Science in sustainability management with a concentration in sustainable water management from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Business Administration in non-profit business administration and environmental science from Baylor University.

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